A Demarche of Diplomats of the Neutral Countries to the
Hungarian Government on Behalf of the Jewish Children

(December 20, 1944)


The undersigned representatives of the neutral powers have already courteously approached the Royal Hungarian Government twice in order to intervene on behalf of the persecuted and outlawed Jews. Now, when the Royal Government considers it necessary - it would be out of place to argue about the motive for this regulation - to shut up the Jews in the ghettos, the representatives of the neutral powers intercede once more to suggest that children at least should be excluded from this regulation. It would be quite incomprehensible to punish the innocent or to take measures allegedly in self-protection against creatures who are simply not in a position to do any harm. Even if we were of the opinion that you must take precautions against the possibility of unrest, it would be incomprehensible to have fears of this sort in connection with children. We hear it asserted that the Jews are Hungary's enemies, but even in wartime justice and conscience condemn all hostile activities against children. Why, then, compel these innocent creatures to live in a place which in many ways is like a prison; where the poor little ones will see nothing but the misery, suffering and despair of old men and of women who are being persecuted simply because of their racial origin? All civilized peoples show consideration for children, and the whole world would be painfully surprised if traditionally Christian and chivalrous Hungary wanted to take action against these little ones.

The representatives of the neutral powers confidently hope that the Royal Government will meet their wishes and all children (together with their mothers when the children are not yet weaned) are to remain outside the ghetto in the places of refuge organized by diplomatic missions or in the various Red Cross institutions. In the execution of this operation, which is purely humanitarian in purpose, care will be taken to select only politically unobjectionable persons capable of bringing up the children in a good patriotic way.

Budapest, 20th December 1944.
Angelo Rotta, Apostolic Nuncio Carl Joan Danielsson,
Swedish Minister Harald Feller,
Swiss Charge d'Affaires Jorge Perlasca,
Spanish Charge d'Affaires Count Pongratz,
Portuguese Charge d'Affaires

Source: Jenoe Levai, "Hungarian Jewry and the Papacy," Clonmore & Reynolds, 1968, pp. 50-51.


Source: Yad Vashem - Eclipse of Humanity